Schools near coronavirus quarantine hotel in Milton Keynes urge pupils to practice 'good hand hygiene'

Schools that are just a couple of hundred metres away from the coronavirus quarantine centre have written letters of reassurance to parents.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 12:04 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 12:06 pm

In a bid to avoid panic, headteachers at Kents Hill Park school and Slated Row special school urged parents to send their children in as normal this morning.

But they are encouraging them nevertheless to use "good hand hygiene" with their children to keep any viruses at bay.

Both published identical letters stating: "There is no need for pupils or staff to stay away from school, and we have been assured that every precaution has been taken. The safety of our pupils and staff is our foremost concern."

Three schools and the Open University are all close to the quarantine centre

The school buildings are just over 200 metres away from the Kents Hill Park hotel and conference centre, where a group of more than 100 Brits arrived yesterday from Wuhan in China.

They will stay there in isolation for 14 days and be monitored regularly for signs of coronavirus.

The school letters said: "The isolation of these groups is being undertaken as a highly precautionary measure as they have been at increased risk of exposure to the virus."

They added: "The presence of this group in Milton Keynes does not present any risk to local people. No one showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) would be allowed to board the plane in China. "

But despite the lack of risk, the letters advise children and parents about hygiene precautions they should take.

They state: " Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue and, to kill the germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of almost any germs, including Coronavirus."

Another school, Kents Hill primary and nursery in Birdlip Lane, is less than 600 metres away from the training centre. The Open University, a major employer, is less than 500 metres away.

Members of the public have criticised the government for not choosing a more remote area for the isolation centre.

One local parent said: "Why have they picked a place that has three schools in very close proximity? It doesn't make sense. I think it's good these people have been evacuated from Wuhan but they should be isolated in a place that's in the middle of nowhere."

Last night Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said there is "absolutely no risk" to the public of Milton Keynes and thanked the city for its "generosity" in accommodating the evacuees.

Meanwhile, police and security staff are today guarding the entrance to the hotel and only authorised people are allowed to enter.